Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association seeks recognition from government as an essential service

Treating automotive repair and parts supply as an essential service would bring Australia into line with other countries, where these activities are already considered an essential service.

Stuart Charity, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA).

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association is urging the government not to close the essential supply of automotive parts and repair services, according to the organization.

“We are calling on government to ensure auto parts and repair is deemed an essential service, so that our industry can play it’s role in supporting the country through these challenging times.”

Stuart Charity, CEO of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association

The unprecedented Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis will result in difficult decisions being made by government. This may include shutting down parts of the Australian economy that are not deemed to be essential.

On March 19 in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security memorandum entitled “MEMORANDUM ON IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 RESPONSE” includes a list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” “to help State and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.” The auto care industry in the U.S. has now been placed on that list.

It is important that the Australian government agencies recognize that auto parts supply and repair is an essential service, AAAA said. “The industry must remain open to support emergency vehicles, essential transportation services and those that will need to support the most vulnerable members of our community,” AAAA said in a press release.

“Our industry keeps other industries moving. Without parts supply and automotive repair other services will suffer. Emergency vehicles, medical supply, food and other transportation will require time critical replacement parts and urgent repair,” said Stuart Charity, CEO of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association.

“We want to make sure that we can keep cars and trucks on the road in this time of crisis, particularly for those who are supporting others or accessing medical care or medication. With delivery services being restricted by some supermarkets, being able to access a local supermarket for many people requires a car.

“We are calling on government to ensure auto parts and repair is deemed an essential service, so that our industry can play it’s role in supporting the country through these challenging times.”

Treating automotive repair and parts supply as an essential service would bring Australia into line with other countries, where these activities are already considered an essential service.

In the midst of the crisis, automotive workshops are adapting to the new situation as best they can. Repairers are implementing new practices such as vehicle sanitization and offering mobile servicing. Local workshops are also working together to support each other by covering staff absences.

Charity stated that, “A directive that defines auto parts supply and repair as an essential service would be a positive step that provides other essential services the support they need, at the time they most need it.”

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